Willmar Child Guide Program
Since 1996, the Child Guide program has connected kids to thousands of activities and resources that answer their academic, social, and basic needs. From school supplies to snow boots, college mentors to summer camps, homework clubs to tutors, child guides connect children and families to resources here in the community. Over a third of all elementary school children in the Willmar Public Schools are touched by the Child Guide Program in any given school year.
The Child Guide program is based on research done by Search Institute. Search identified “40 developmental assets” children need to grow into capable, caring and resilient adults. Studies show the fewer assets a child has, the more likely the child will be involved in unhealthy, risky behaviors. Find out more about the Assets by going to www.search-institute.org.
The purpose of the Child Guide program is broad and comprehensive. First and foremost, Child Guides build important relationships with students and families daily, helping others to become more connected to the Willmar community. From greeting students in the hallway, having conversations with teachers and staff, and connecting with others throughout a normal school day, Child Guides are here to build bridges and common ground with students, families, and staff.
Throughout the school year Child Guides partners with a variety of community organizations to help provide children academic support, mentorship opportunities, and chances for students to connect with caring adults. These organizations include Ridgewater College, the Willmar Police Department, the Willmar Rotary Club, Jennie-O, Focus House, the Foster Grandparent Parent Program, and other community groups.
Students and families connect with Child Guides to help with basic needs and services. Child Guides assist families with needs such as food, housing, medical, dental care, and warm weather clothing (including mittens and hats). Child Guides can also help with finding a student a musical instrument, a summer camp or recreation opportunity, or a gift at the holidays.
Lastly, Child Guides serve help out in school buildings and the community through a variety of ways. These might include attending open houses, coordinating individual building initiatives, and attending school events. In the community, Child Guides are currently helping to serve 4H, the YMCA, the United Way, as well as other organizations that help advance the needs of children.
For more information about the Child Guide Program, please contact Community Education at (320) 231-8492, or talk to your child’s elementary school office.